I am a Scrooge. A Grinch. A Holiday Humbug.
I never understood when people would talk about the stress of Christmas as a youngster. To me, Christmas was a magical time of joy and excitement and sleepless anticipation. Of course, as a kid all I had to do was sign my name to the family present and bring home my clothespin reindeer ornament to glorious, parental acclaim.
Now I understand, firsthand, the stress of Christmas. The drive to do more. To be more. I feel driven to attend every event, set tables, be hospitable, make homemade cookies for friends and neighbors, write Christmas letters, take pictures, make handmade presents,wrap said presents with precision and care... and to be excited about it all.
But this year, I’m just not in the spirit.
I feel pulled in many different directions in life in general, only to have it escalate exponentially one month out of the year. I cannot agree to every invitation that comes my way. It would not be healthy. I cannot pig out at every party, buffet, gathering or cookie exchange that occurs. It would not be healthy. I cannot stay up late hand making gifts for every friend, roommate, family member, and acquaintance. It would not be healthy.
So why do I expect myself to be able to do these things?
Why do I expect myself to be all things to all people any time of the year?
That is the source of the Scroogery. My unhealthy expectations of myself. I have decided to cure my scroogery. To repeat to myself, “Kelly, you are just one person. You have only so much time. Agreeing to everything will make you miserable. Say no frequently so you can say yes freely.”
I sit here humming contentedly, “It’s beginning to feel a lot like Christmas.”
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Oh, how I resonant with those sentiments!
Today it occurred to me how to get out of the Scrooge-mode. Take to heart the simply message of the lesson I am teaching the 4 year olds tomorrow: we are celebrating Jesus’ birthday; like the shepherds we can tell others.
Anything else is extra and therefore optional.
Glad I’m not alone in my Scroogery. Happy Birthday, Jesus. I’m determined to celebrate well.